Kokkinakis keen for Australian team tennis

Former Davis Cup star Thanasi Kokkinakis is supporting John Millman's proposal for a domestic teams' event if Australia emerges early from the COVID-19 crisis.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS of Australia.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS of Australia. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

Thanasi Kokkinakis has thrown his support behind John Millman's team tennis proposal, declaring: "I'll take anything we can get".

Frustrated by five years of wretched injury issues and then a nasty bout of glandular fever, Kokkinakis says the only activity getting his heart rate up during the coronavirus lockdown is his video game console.

"Playstation gets me through the days, gives me that competitive edge," he told AAP.

But the 24-year-old one-time conqueror of Roger Federer craves more and said Millman's concept of an interstate domestic competition featuring Australia's biggest stars and two legends each is appealing.

"To have competitive tennis, or something to work towards or strive for, would be good," Kokkinakis said.

"It just gives some players light and some direction, which we haven't had in a long time - especially me.

"Obviously I took a bit of time off after the US Open... Then one thing led to another and I haven't played for seven, eight months now."

Down to 237th in the rankings, Kokkinakis would be eligible for South Australia alongside Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, Fed Cup skipper Alicia Molik plus a rising women's star.

"We'd definitely win the legends (component) considering Lleyton almost hits more balls than the players. I think we've got that rubber locked in," Kokkinakis said.

"A lot of times when there's legends involved it becomes an exhibition but I think if there's something on the line and make it competitive would make it exciting everyone involved.

"Tennis works best when it's played at the top level and with the most intensity and the most competitiveness, as opposed to a fun hit around with some jokes."

Kokkinakis also backed Millman's plea for tennis officials to better financially support the tour's lesser-lights who were struggling to make ends meet even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of all sports.

"I agree with Johnny pretty much a hundred per cent," he said.

"The top guys are going to make their money - and deservedly so - but if you're playing professional tennis and you're in the top 300, 400 players in the world, like really if you think about it, you should be making a decent living.

"Most other sports if you're about that ranking in the world, you're doing pretty well.

"For tennis to be a global sport and so popular, prize money needs to be distributed better."


AAP